Understanding how to winterise a caravan properly is an important part of owning a static caravan. Spending winter in your caravan can be an exciting experience, from waking up surrounded by beautiful, frost-touched nature to bundling up to sit on your porch and gaze up at the winter sky. Whether you have a static or a touring caravan, here are some essentials to pack before heading out on the road in winter.
Raincoats and thick jumpers are an essential part of living in Britain, and any prepared traveller keeps a spare one or two in their boot should they get caught in a spot of cold weather. Additionally, you will want to pack extra layers including thermals, extra t-shirts, thick socks, gloves, a scarf and a cosy hat. Don’t forget some comfortable walking boots – if the worst happens and you experience a breakdown, you don’t want to be walking through snow and slush in a flimsy pair of trainers!
Layers are essential for keeping warm and can ensure you stay cosy when out and about. A couple of extra bits we also recommend keeping handy for a quick warm-up include a hot water bottle and reusable hand warmers.
If the worst happens and you find yourself pulled up at the side of the road waiting for recovery, you will want the peace of mind that everything you might need is in the car waiting for you. It’s recommended to keep an all-season breakdown kit available in your boot, so you don’t get caught out. Essentials include:
Before you get yourself all cosy for the winter in your caravan, there are a few recommended checks and maintenance jobs to carry out to ensure you experience no hardship during your stay. These are normal maintenance jobs and should be carried out a couple of times a year, so if you haven’t already ticked these off your list, it’s even more important to do so during winter.
While you aren’t likely to miss a large amount of damage to your caravan’s exterior, it’s easy to miss cracks and loose joints without a thorough inspection. Find a day when you’ve got plenty of natural light and inspect every corner of your exterior, taking note of any potential problem areas that you may need to keep an eye on. If you find any cracks, holes or loose joints on your touring caravan, it’s best to get these patched up before heading out on the road. It’s important to get all issues fixed, especially before the weather turns wet and miserable.
This might require some preparation, especially if you have an older model caravan, but it’s advised to use propane gas instead of butane during the winter months, as butane gas freezes below 4°C.
Every boiler needs maintenance and if you have a gas boiler, this should have an annual check-up from a qualified gas engineer. While you won’t be able to maintain the boiler yourself (unless you are qualified), you can check and, if necessary, bleed your radiators to remove naturally occurring trapped air and return your radiators to full efficiency. You should also check that all pipes (internal and external) are sufficiently insulated with pipe lagging as this prevents liquids from freezing in the pipes and causing a problem.
In the colder months, you are more likely to be using gas fires or turning the heating on in your caravan, and if you have an older model, you are likely to use a free-standing heater. In addition to using these heating appliances responsibly, you need to ensure that any heaters are safe for use and install carbon monoxide and fire alarms throughout your caravan – just in case. Ideally, you want one in each bedroom and one in the main living area or kitchen.
To save using up all your gas overnight, consider loading up on some high-tog duvets, extra pillows and blankets. You’ll stay nice and cosy (especially if pre-warmed with a hot water bottle!) and reduce the need to buy extra gas bottles for the colder nights. Double down with some cosy, fleecy pyjamas and your caravan will become the ultimate winter retreat.
While staying warm is a priority, with the cold exterior and warm air indoors, your caravan is likely to suffer from some condensation which is noticeable by the moisture that collects on windows and cold surfaces. Several ways to reduce condensation include opening windows and doors in the day to allow air to flow through, clearing out all air vents to provide extra ventilation, or purchasing some dehumidifiers which will collect moisture in the air. If you don’t notice a reduction in the level of condensation, consider turning on (or installing) extractor fans and reducing the use of gas-heaters which can create extra moisture in the air.
To prevent gutters from leaking down the side of your caravan and drains backing up, make sure to clear out all gutters and drains of any organic material or leaf litter that could have built up after the autumn season. Make sure you also replace any guttering or drain pipes that have cracks or holes in and repair or replace old or broken guttering clips, too.
Empty the caravan of important personal belongings, and ideally, any removable soft furnishings. This includes personal items and valuables, as well as bed linen, cushions, blankets, rugs, and curtains in order to minimise the possibility of mildew and mould forming whilst your caravan is locked up over winter. By doing so, you’ll ensure that there will be no unpleasant surprises awaiting you the next time you visit your home away from home.
Top Tip – leave a bowl of salt in your holiday home over the winter months to keep each room dry and free from damp.
Clean the entire kitchen with anti-bacterial products, ensuring the fridge and freezer compartments are empty and clean, leaving the fridge door open before you leave! You need to make sure that any food or perishables are removed from the caravan because not only can food go off if left over the winter months, but it could also risk attracting vermin which is, understandably, the last thing you want!
For the remaining items that you intend to leave in your caravan during the off-season, we have some additional caravan winter storage tips to ensure everything stays safe, secure, and protected. Larger seat cushions or mattresses that you can’t feasibly take away with you should be stood on their ends, where possible, to allow fresh air to circulate around them and reduce the risk of damp or mould occurring.
Additionally, make sure that any vents are clear and easily accessible, allowing fresh air to enter and circulate while the caravan is locked up. Before you lock up and head off for winter, try to leave internal doors, wardrobe doors, cupboard doors, and the fridge door open to let air circulate fully. Don’t forget to turn off the electricity supply before you leave and, finally, check the locks are all in good working order and that all windows and doors are locked when you leave.
Once you have removed everything and emptied the contents from your static caravan, the next task is to start cleaning! Be sure to thoroughly remove any patches of damp, mildew and moisture in order to ensure that the caravan is left in an optimum condition. This can be achieved by using various cleaning supplies such as sprays and disinfectants, which will effectively remove any bacteria or germs that have the potential to spread if left alone over long periods of time. This is why it’s essential for the long-term maintenance of your static caravan that it is completely cleaned before being stored for winter.
It’s not just the interior of your caravan that needs to be cleaned, however. This is also a perfect opportunity to spruce up the exterior before the long winter months properly set in. Give the exterior of your caravan a good clean, removing any dirt or debris like fallen leaves. This presents a chance to double-check if there are any noticeable issues with the caravan itself, like problems with sealing around doors or windows, for example. It’s much better to identify and resolve any issues at this stage before the harsh weather sets in. Lastly, don’t forget to lock up or take away any loose outdoor items – including outdoor furniture, children’s toys, garden ornaments, etc.
A caravan’s pipes are vulnerable to environmental damage which is why it is important that owners take the necessary steps to prevent them from freezing up during the winter. Understanding how to drain down a static caravan for winter isn’t difficult, but it is important to complete the job thoroughly. Drain all the water from the pipes and look out for any signs of damage and leaks which may occur.
If there are any plumbing problems, it is advised that you consult a plumber or specialist technician who can fix these problems for you before it starts to get colder. This is because leaving faulty pipes in your caravan increases the likelihood that they will break whilst you’re away, and this can result in a significant amount of water damage which can severely affect the value of your static caravan.
Insulation is not just for bricks and mortar homes! It can also be utilised within both new and second-hand static caravans and provide a number of benefits. Caravan insulation is much easier than insulating a home due to its smaller size, with many owners choosing to insulate their caravans themselves. Whether you buy a DIY guide or hire a specialist to do the work for you, this will ensure that your caravan stays warm throughout the year without the need for expensive electronic heaters.
These handy tips can help prepare your static caravan for the next few months when visits are few and far between – if at all; leaving you with a holiday home that’s in perfect condition upon your return!
For many people, the luxury of owning a holiday home is one that offers convenience, comfort and a home from home at the drop of a hat. Here at Allen’s Caravans, we have a superb range of caravan homes for sale across our holiday parks to suit your exact needs. If you’re after somewhere cosy for weekends away or somewhere the whole family can enjoy, then the many benefits of a second home won’t go amiss!
One of the biggest attractions to UK holiday homes is that they are ready and available to use at your leisure. Many of our holiday parks are open for up to 10 months of the year, meaning you get to enjoy your home away from home in spring through to autumn, and even throughout December should you fancy a festive getaway.
For more information on our range of holiday homes for sale, please have a browse or contact us on 01564 792323 to have a chat with our team. We have holiday parks in some of the most scenic, picturesque areas of the UK, giving you the opportunity to discover your perfect getaway destination.